By Alissa Gavrilescu on May 22, 2017 @ 02:25 PM
With so many toothpaste options available, it can be extremely difficult to choose the best oral care products for your newly toothed baby. Children's mouths are constantly developing, which is why it is important to make sure their teeth are as well taken care of as possible…even from birth!
Did you know the American Dental Association (ADA) tells parents to start a cleaning routine just a few days after a baby is born? They recommend using a moist gauze pad or washcloth to wipe your baby's gums. While you can't see them, every baby is born with 20 teeth ready to erupt. By cleaning baby's gums daily from birth, you've created a clean, healthy mouth for those teeth to live in. You've also created a routine for cleaning, which is important as your child gets older.
Picking the Right Toothpaste for your Baby
Once your child is toothbrush-ready, toothpaste selection can make a huge difference in how teeth are maintained. Here are some tips to help you find best toothpaste for your baby:
Baby Toothpaste Ingredients: What’s Inside Counts
Children's toothpaste differs from adult toothpaste because most children's products do not contain whitening agents and harsh chemicals that can hurt young tooth enamel. Choosing a toothpaste labeled for babies, toddlers or children can help ensure no unnecessary chemicals are in there. An ingredient to avoid for young ones is sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), which can cause painful canker sores after use in some children.
Many adults question if they should find a toothpaste with fluoride for their kids. The answer is YES! According to WebMD and the ADA, using fluoride at an early age will help protect teeth well into adulthood.
Tempting Tastes: Does Flavor Matter?
There isn't a "wrong" flavor to protect your baby's teeth. Most children's toothpaste is mild in flavor so that kids will enjoy brushing and build good habits. In younger children, it is best to avoid stronger flavors such as mint or cinnamon and you’ll find that most baby and child toothpaste options are in kid-friendly flavors like fruits and bubble gum. Letting your child choose their own flavor can be a great way to make sure they like it and will brush their teeth well!
All Natural is A-OK.
Wondering if your baby can use natural toothpaste? Of course! Natural toothpaste is becoming increasingly popular and widely available at most grocery stores. It can be great for your child because there is no risk of using a toothpaste with harsh chemicals. Choosing a natural toothpaste with the ADA seal of acceptance will ensure you choose a toothpaste that will protect your baby's teeth.
There are SO. MANY. OPTIONS. What should I pick?
Which toothpaste is right for your baby? There is not just one specific type of toothpaste that is right for all children, so finding the right one for your little one can be daunting. Choosing a toothpaste from the children's section of the oral health aisle will help ensure the toothpaste is free of harsh chemicals and SLS. If you’re unsure, ask your child’s pediatric dentist or pediatrician for their recommendation. Your child’s dentist might even have samples for you and your child to try. Some of the most recommended toothpastes for children are:
- Colgate Children's 2-in-1 toothpaste
- Hello Kids Toothpaste (natural option)
- Tom's of Maine (natural option)
Once you’ve found the right toothpaste, keep these important toothbrush tips in mind:
- Schedule a "well-baby" checkup for your child’s first teeth with a pediatric dentist. Do this any time after they cut the first tooth but no later than the first birthday.
- Use a soft-bristled "baby toothbrush" along with a small amount of fluoride toothpaste to clean the tooth (or teeth). At one time, the ADA did not recommend children younger than three use toothpaste with fluoride. However, an increase in cavities in young children changed the recommendation for children and fluoride. Now, the ADA advises parents to use a "smear" of toothpaste - about the size of a grain of rice.
Baby teeth are important for your child to learn to chew and speak. They also hold space in the mouth for their permanent teeth, so taking care of them from the start is important. Finding the right toothpaste for your baby or toddler along with regular brushing is a big part of your child’s oral health now, and in the future.